The cost declines in solar energy have been so dramatic that energy industry analysts are beginning to make direct comparisons to the shale boom for oil and gas. Woods Mackenzie raises the question directly in a report titled, “Solar – The next shale?” “Just as shale extraction reconfigured oil and gas, no other technology is closer to transforming power markets than distributed and utility scale solar,” conclude the report authors. The study claims that 19 states will be at “grid parity,” meaning cost-competitive with fossil fuels, by 2020. Their chart of how solar costs will track relative to fossil fuels in California is illustrative of the trend:
“CC” and “CT” are for combined cycle and combustion turbine natural gas plants, respectively. Note that solar is already substantially cheaper than natural gas in California and is on track to get much, much cheaper.
Nor are Woods Mackenzie the only analysts who are bullish on solar. The well-known Communist tree-hugger organization Deutsche Bank has predicted that solar will be as cheap or cheaper than natural gas in 47 states as soon as next year if the current 30% tax credit gets renewed, and in 36 states if the tax credit drops to 10% (which is what will happen if Congress does not intervene), according to Bloomberg News. Massachusetts is among the top performers and well above the parity line, even in Deutsche Bank’s worst-case scenario of reduction in the tax credit:
Source: BloombergBusiness online
And the economic argument for investing billions of New England ratepayer dollars to build a natural gas pipeline is…?